Washington, D.C., restaurateur Yamrot Ezineh, owner of LeTena, aims to make East African cuisine accessible to American audience
By Bret Thorn (NRN) |
Restaurateurs are trying their hand at fast-casual concepts of all stripes, from the nearly ubiquitous pizza, sandwich and “better burger” chains, to a growing set of Mediterranean and health-focused chains, and even some specializing in food served in bowls.
But Yamrot Ezineh is breaking new ground with LeTena (3100 14th St NW #121, Washington, DC 20010), a fast-casual Ethiopian restaurant slated to open in Washington, D.C., next week.
“We’re trying to serve Ethiopian food, not just to have an experience, but like other mainstream food that anyone can walk in and eat any time,” Yamrot Ezineh said.
Ethiopian food can be polarizing: The spices from the East African country are unfamiliar to most Americans, and meals are traditionally eaten by hand instead of with silverware. Dishes are served with a spongy-sour flatbread made with teff flour called injera that many consumers find off-putting.
Yamrot Ezineh is maintaining the traditional flavors of Ethiopia, which enjoy a wider following in D.C. than in perhaps any other city in the United States because of the robust Ethiopian community there. She offers injera for those who want it, and they can even have their food wrapped in it, burrito-style, if they like.
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